LAUSD'S GRADUATION RATE: 44% DISTRICT 6TH WORST AMONG U.S. CITIES, NEW STUDY FINDS.
Byline: NAUSH BOGHOSSIAN Staff Writer
Just 44 percent of Los Angeles Los Angeles (lôs ăn`jələs, lŏs, ăn`jəlēz'), city (1990 pop. 3,485,398), seat of Los Angeles co., S Calif.; inc. 1850. Unified students receive a high school diploma A high school diploma is a diploma awarded for the completion of high school. In the United States and Canada, it is considered the minimum education required for government jobs and higher education. An equivalent is the GED. , making the 727,000-student district's graduation rate among the lowest of large urban school districts, a national study released Tuesday found.
Published by the nonpartisan publication Education Week with support from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, philanthropic institution founded in 1994 by Microsoft chairman Bill Gates and his wife, Melinda, to improve the lives of the poor throughout the world, primarily through grants for projects relating to global health care, , the study adds more evidence to support claims that the district's graduation rate is at or below 50 percent.
District officials have repeatedly questioned the studies and say the graduation rate is closer to 64 percent.
The Education Week study found that the LAUSD's graduation rate was even lower than the 48 percent estimated by Harvard University Harvard University, mainly at Cambridge, Mass., including Harvard College, the oldest American college. Harvard College
Harvard College, originally for men, was founded in 1636 with a grant from the General Court of the Massachusetts Bay Colony. in a controversial report that has been seized upon by those who want to break the district into smaller pieces.
The LAUSD LAUSD Los Angeles Unified School District (Los Angeles, CA) was sixth from the bottom in graduation rates out of the nation's 50 largest school districts, trailed only by Detroit, Baltimore, New York City New York City: see New York, city.
New York City
City (pop., 2000: 8,008,278), southeastern New York, at the mouth of the Hudson River. The largest city in the U.S. , Milwaukee and Cleveland. The study, which looked at U.S. Department of Education graduation rates for the 2002-03 school year, found California's graduation rate to be about 71 percent, slightly better than the nationwide average.
LAUSD officials say studies do not accurately reflect the district's graduation rate.
``You see discrepancies between figures because it's very hard to document dropouts, and they tend to be undercounted and underreported,'' said Lynn Olson, executive project editor for Diplomas Count.
``There are missing pieces of data and none of these data systems are perfect at this point. The point is, if you look at a lot of these figures, whether a 40 percent graduation rate or 60 percent, that should be troubling, particularly when you start breaking out for various racial minorities.''
Superintendent Roy Romer Roy R. Romer (born October 31, 1928 in Garden City, Kansas, United States) was the 39th governor of Colorado and served as the superintendent of the Los Angeles Unified School District from 2001 to 2006. said he was frustrated with the studies because they don't show the district's gains, don't take into account students who move during the year and exclude ninth-graders who are held back because they don't have enough units to move up.
The LAUSD reported a dropout (1) On magnetic media, a bit that has lost its strength due to a surface defect or recording malfunction. If the bit is in an audio or video file, it might be detected by the error correction circuitry and either corrected or not, but if not, it is often not noticed by the human rate of 33 percent to the state and officials maintain that new reports will show the figure has dropped to 24 percent -- a nine percentage point drop in one year.
``I'm frustrated because they're not an accurate report of where we are. We've made real changes since 2003. There's a statistical flaw in the way they measure,'' Romer
A Romer or Roamer is a simple device for accurately plotting a grid reference on a map. said. ``What we need to do is use the accurate figures of the state of California.
``Those are identifiable and verifiable. We obviously inherited the largest dropout problem in California and we're radically changing that.''
Political leaders, including Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa Antonio Ramon Villaraigosa (born Antonio (Tony) Ramon Villar, Jr. on January 23, 1953) is the mayor of Los Angeles, California. He is the first Latino mayor of Los Angeles since Cristobal Aguilar in 1872. , have seized on the figures to push agendas for reform ranging from mayoral takeover of the district to its breakup breakup
The division of a company into separate parts. The most famous breakup to date was the 1984 division of AT&T (formerly, American Telephone & Telegraph Company). This breakup was intended to increase competition in the communications industry. .
Villaraigosa, who was in Sacramento on Tuesday lobbying for his foundering school-takeover plan, said the Education Week study further bolsters his effort by demonstrating the district is failing to help kids graduate.
``(This is) the fourth study now to confirm what I've been saying for a year: that the dropout rate is somewhere around 50 percent in L.A. Unified,'' Villaraigosa said. ``We've got a problem.''
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger Arnold Alois Schwarzenegger (German pronunciation (IPA): [ˈaɐ̯nɔlt ˈaloɪ̯s ˈʃvaɐ̯ʦənˌʔɛɡɐ] , who met with the mayor Tuesday, cited the LAUSD's high dropout rate as one of the reasons he supports Villaraigosa's plan.
``We have a 50 percent dropout rate amongst our students,'' Schwarzenegger said. ``The grades are bad. I don't think they're really creating there the future for California. So I think it is really terrific that he's working on that and he has my support.''
Researchers said the results were not surprising for a large urban district with high poverty, a large number of minority students and where a quarter of the students are English learners.
``While LAUSD will have some challenges, they're really addressing this issue head-on, and I understand the mayor is very active in this as well,'' said Christopher B. Swanson, director of Editorial Projects in Education Research Center, who oversaw the development of the report.
LAUSD officials don't argue that the dropout rates are too high -- even at 24 percent -- and in a bid to boost graduation rates, the district is spending more than $20 million to develop the Diploma Project, which would lower class size, assign counselors to at-risk schools to follow up on students not coming to school, and create a more personalized middle and high school experience, district officials said.
State Superintendent of Public Instruction Jack O'Connell
Jack T. O'Connell (born October 8, 1951) is a California politician. said Tuesday that the report reflected what they've known all along -- that the state's dropout rate is too high, especially among Latino and African-American students.
Calling the process of calculating graduation rates an ``imprecise science,'' he said the state will be able to track the rates more accurately once they implement their statewide student identifier system by 2009.
Dropout rates can vary dramatically depending on how a district records a transfer student versus a dropout, as well as how it defines a dropout.
California, for example, doesn't count students in prison as dropouts, but those working toward their GED GED
1. general equivalency diploma
2. general educational development
GED (US) n abbr (Scol) (= general educational development) → diplomas are.
The study comes at the heels of another study released in April finding that barely half of LAUSD students receive their high school diplomas, mirroring the Harvard University study from a year ago that alarmed city officials and fueled debate over the district's effectiveness.
In the Manhattan Institute The Manhattan Institute for Policy Research is a self-described "free market think tank" established in New York City in 1978, with its headquarters on Vanderbilt Avenue in Midtown Manhattan. for Policy Research study, also funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the LAUSD ranked 86th out of the nation's 100 largest school districts in its graduation rate -- lower than districts in Alabama, Louisiana and Arkansas, which are historically under-performing states.
The results were even bleaker for the district's minority students.
Blacks had a 55 percent graduation rate and Latinos 44 percent, compared with 77 percent among whites and 80 percent among Asians. Latinos account for the overwhelming majority of LAUSD students.
That study looked at how many students entered high school in 1999 and how many regular diplomas were awarded in 2003.
The Education Week study uses similar calculations to the Harvard and Manhattan Institute studies, and estimates what percent of ninth-graders are earning a standard diploma in a four-year time period by looking at the percent of students promoted at each grade level.
That figure does not include students who receive a GED or other alternate credentials, so the 44 percent graduation rate does not equate to a 56 percent dropout rate. Dropout rates were not addressed in the study.
A man who is a member of a legislative assembly.
pl -men a member of a legislative assembly
Noun 1. Keith Richman Dr. Keith S. Richman is a California, United States, Republican politician. From 2001 to 2007, he served in the California State Assembly representing the 38th Assembly District based in Northwest Los Angeles County. , R-Northridge, who has proposed legislation to break up the district, said the study confirmed past studies that have shown the LAUSD is one of the worst large urban school districts.
``It's just another indication that's completely consistent with the other studies that have been done that demonstrate the failure of L.A. Unified School District A unified school district is a school district which includes both primary school (kindergarten through middle school or junior high) and high school (grades 9-12). In Illinois, these districts are called unit school districts. to educate our kids,'' Richman said.
Staff Writer Harrison Sheppard contributed to this report.
photo, box, chart
Dropped the ball
A study from Education Week found that just 44 percent of LAUSD students graduate, compared with 71 percent in California and 70 percent nationwide
SOURCE: Editorial Projects in Education Research Center